Pioneer Courage Park–and a giveaway!!!

We are always talking about history and the frontier and courage here on this blog.

So I went to a park in Omaha, that’s one of my favorite places ever, called Pioneer Courage Park.

I take people who visit Omaha to this place and once or twice I have just gone to downtown Omaha and walked around. I’m just in love with this wagon train sulpture.

If you look carefully at the bottom of this picture below it says Pioneer Courage.

There are four wagons. One each pulled by a different team. (well, one is drawn by hand)

One drawn by a team of Oxen. (hint, below, I’m the one on the right)

and mules.

There’s also a hand drawn cart which is mostly how the Mormon pioneers crossed the country. It boggles the mind that they had such small carts. what in the world did they eat?

Amazing desire for religious freedom.

There are also people, women walking, women carrying a baby. They say that everyone who wasn’t driving the wagons walked. It not only took weight off the wagon, and made it easier on the horses/mules/oxen. But it also was more comfortable to walk. the wagons shook and rattled along, no wind could get in past the cover, it was a miserable way to travel. Imagine that. Walking ALL THE WAY ACROSS AMERICA WAS MORE COMFORTABLE THAN RIDING IN A COVERED WAGON!!!

This guy is the wagon master. Think about that job for a minute. Did they pay him? did he go once and stay in the west or did he go back to the beginning and start over every year?

This guy below is leading a horse and there are deer on the pack horse. Sort of blurry, sorry.


He’s bringing in food. but one guy I talked to said it was rare for a hunter to find food. The wild animals learned to run far from the trail. Mostly, any food you were going to eat on the Oregon Trail, you had to bring it with you.

Lots of people leading the teams where the going is rough. One wagon was ‘stuck in the mud’. Very cool. Everyone pushing and urging the animals to pull.

Many pioneers brought a milk cow along, this one is tied to the back of the wagon and being led to Oregon. Long way to go home.

There are several buffalo just here and there on the downtown streets, like a block or two away from the Pioneer Courage Park. So cool to walk down a street and meet up with an iron buffalo.


As part of the Pioneer Courage there was also a small group of Native Americans. A reminder that some people were heading into a new land. And some people were already there.

So many of my characters are trying to tear a living out of wild lands.

In my current series, Wyoming has a total population of 9000. TOTAL. One out of five are women.

Yet somehow this state was the first to give women the right to vote.

There was Pioneer Courage in the west even after it was beyond the age of the pioneer.

To get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of Laws of Attraction, leave a comment about your favorite park.

Where do you like to go and just hang out.

There are several such beautiful places in Omaha. The Henry Doorley Zoo, the Lauritzen Gardens. Bookstores.

But none better than Pioneer Courage Park.

The Laws of Attraction

Can they risk giving in to the attraction between them while their lives are on the line?

If widowed seamstress Nell Armstrong has to make one more pair of boring chaps for the cowboys in her tiny Wyoming town, she might just quit the business altogether! So meeting Brand Nolte, a widower struggling to raise three girls on his own, seems like her dream come true. Brand has no idea how to dress the girls properly, and Nell finally has a chance to create beautiful outfits while also teaching the girls to sew.

But Nell is much more than a seamstress, and the investigative skills and knowledge she picked up alongside her late lawman husband soon become critical when a wounded stagecoach-robbery survivor is brought to town. As danger closes in from all sides, Nell and Brand must discover who has a target trained on them before it’s too late.

“A richly detailed adventure that captivates till the end.”–Publishers Weekly on Forged in Love

Buy on Amazon

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Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series

71 thoughts on “Pioneer Courage Park–and a giveaway!!!”

  1. My wife is from Omaha. Of course, Nebraska is the home of the Bug Eaters. Fir those not in the know, the Cornhuckers were formerly the Bug Eaters a point I remind my wife about. The history of the area is important.

    • The first step beyond the settled east. Omaha. We’re big on train history. And yes, Bug Eaters. But the Cornhuskers isn’t much fancier, but we’ve made it work for us.

  2. Many were just looking for a better life out west. Many just wanted to own land. Many were still immigrants. If they didn’t head west wonder what this country would be like today.

  3. This was a hard road to a better life! I don’t know how many people now could do this.

    • Louis L’Amour always talked about how a different sort of person went west once there were trains. The wagon trains separated the wheat from the chaff.

  4. We have a history museum near where we live called Sauder Village, telling the story of the Black Swamp (northwest Ohio) and how people settled the area. They have actual buildings from different time periods and guides to tell you what each one is and how it was used. If I am being honest my favorite place to see at the village is their quilt shop, which isn’t historical but has lots of pretty fabric and quilt displays. ?

    • I’ve been to Connor’s Prairie in Indianapolis. This and your museum are from the days when Ohio and Indiana were the extreme western frontier. Hard to imagine.

  5. There are some beautiful state and county parks nearby.

    I love the beach for peace, but I’m more likely to go to the mountains of Northeast Tennessee.

  6. There is an agriculture museum near me that has an entire pioneer town with a general store open to the public. I love to watch the blacksmith work.

  7. That sounds like a neat place to visit. I didn’t realize the Mormons used handtrucks or so many people walked.
    I enjoy the park a few minutes from our house. There’s a playground, a 3 mile rails to trail, the river – for fishing and wading. A bridge over the river and a trail to Faith Rock. Where an American Revolutionary hero rode his horse down to get away from a Tory.
    I’d love a copy of your latest book.

  8. I think it sounds like a great place to visit, although I’ve never been to Omaha or to Nebraska. I enjoy staying at home. I enjoy going to a park, but not by myself.

  9. A park near where I live is called Balboa Park. In Balboa Park there are museums, historical and cultural activities, and also the San Diego Zoo.

    • Diana, I went to the San Diego Zoo once a LONG TIME AGO. I believe I was expecting my first child. Who is now the mother of a freshman in highschool, so very very long! What a great memory the San Diego Zoo is.

  10. There is a beautiful park in Toronto called High Park, it extends for miles all along the Toronto water front. I spent a lot of time there as a girl riding my bike and sometimes eating our picnic lunch. There was a very lovely restaurant, but with 5 kids my parents couldn’t afford to eat there with us.

  11. We have an interesting line of frontier forts which are now administered by either the state parks or state historical commission. These were built as protection for settlers and travelers in the 1850’s, and several are especially well preserved. We enjoy visiting one in particular, as it is only about 70 miles from our house; it makes a nice day trip and picnic outing. I so appreciate your love of history and detailed research which you incorporate into your stories.

    • Catherine…I always appreciate accurate research in fiction too, it throws me off when certain things aren’t possible although I’ve learned to tell myself ‘it’s for the story’.

  12. I need to visit Omaha, Mary! This park looks magnificent! I would love to walk around there. I’m in awe of those pioneers. We are so soft these days. So comfortable. We grumble if we have to sit in traffic in our air-conditioned car with music to listen to. We need the reminders of what can be accomplished with hard work and sacrifice.

  13. Oh wow! I’m adding Omaha to my list of places to visit. I’d love to see Pioneer Park! I don’t know that I have a favorite park, but one of my favorite places I’ve ever visited was the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC. If I lived there, I think I would enjoy going there to read a book and relax. I can’t wait for the book to release!!

  14. I enjoy the beach. My favorite is St George Island, FL. And I do like the mountains. It’s a good drive from Florida, but doable! Sounds like a good book Mary! Now Omaha is on my list to see!

  15. If I remember what I read ages ago correctly, Wyoming specifically gave women the right to vote, hoping that by doing so more women would be enticed to move there.

    • There had to be some reason but didn’t all the western states have this problem? Lopsided men to women? Why did that work in Wyoming? So interesting.

  16. Hi, wow, so much great information here and what awesome photos, thank you so much for sharing all this. Your books sound like great reads! I love going to Guadalupe Mountains National Park which is in Texas. I love going on a hike there that takes us to an awesome Spring, I love it there , great place for a picnic. Thank you for the chance. Have a great day and a great weekend. God Bless you and your family.

  17. I love the Big Thicket National Park in southeast Texas. We used to always go there when visiting grandparents. My great-great-grandfather was the “Father of the Big Thicket!”

  18. Of the parks I have visited, the Flume Gorge and Trail in NH is my favorite. I would definitely go to Pioneer Courage Park if I was in Omaha. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  19. My favorite National Park is the Grand Canyon. I live in Arizona so have visited it many times in all kinds of weather. it is awesome and beautiful. You see something different every time you visit.

  20. This park sounds amazing. I love visiting Fort Laramie, Wyoming, though it isn’t a park. We lived in Nebraska for quite awhile and I wish we had known about this place.

  21. Mary, I loved your post! That park must be beyond words! My imagination could take a trip down memory lane! How hard life must have been! Thank you for sharing all this information!

  22. Last night, I rode my bike through Sycamore Grove which is a local park & wildlife area. It’s gorgeous & the ride was so peaceful. As I rode, I was reminded how the beauty came from God & of his gift of peace. We’ve also just begun to have spring/summer weather, so the time was filled with thankfulness to God for his goodness.

  23. My favorite park so far is Glacier park! I live in Wyoming, & there are tons of parks & museums close to where I live. Right here in town we have 3 museums dedicated to the pioneer trails with information & lots of interactive things to do!

  24. Thank you for your history lesson on Omaha. I have been there a few times but always seem to miss the historic parts, Unfortunately, my traveling times are over as my husband and I cannot tolerate long times sitting and also too many miles between much needed stops! I will have to get my enjoyment from my computer as I search for my most loved places online.

  25. The Pioneer Courage Park in Omaha looks & sounds amazing! I’ve always been fascinated with the covered wagon trains. Such an adventure!!!!! I canNOT imagine walking all the way across the US, but if I were young & in good health, I think the adventure would be fun! I’d never survive with the health issues I have, but it’s still fun to read about. The courage & stamina the pioneers had… & the heartache they faced… for the journey was incredible. I love to read about it!

    I enjoyed Forged in Love, & I’m looking forward to the next two books in the Wyoming Sunrise series!!

    • Hi Lori. I don’t think I’m all that tough. I doubt I’d have survived a wagon train journey. I’d’ve probably fallen off at the first creek crossing and drowned. But who knows. Maybe I’d have surprised myself (and everyone who knows me)

  26. One of my favorite parks is in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. There is so much pretty scenery to see.

  27. Great photo’s; thanks for sharing, Mary. I really enjoy your books & would love to win one ;o)
    I’ve visited many parks from Canada to Florida and can’t pick a favorite. Where I live in Connecticut we have many that I enjoy visiting to picnic and hike: Kent Falls, Macedonia, Southford Falls, Black Rock and Columbia (where I got lost in the woods ;o( The list goes on….

  28. I certainly can’t imagine having to walk cross country, but I am sure after a few weeks the body adjusts. As slow as the wagons traveled, it shouldn’t have been too difficult to keep up. It would have just been tiring and a bit boring. Excitement probably wasn’t something you wanted because it usually meant trouble or danger.
    We have been in the Omaha area twice, but knew nothing about downtown. We went to the SAC Museum near the Air Force base, the base, and the Henry Doorley Zoo. They were still working on the Asian exhibit when we were there. I would like to go back and spend more time at the zoo. It is the best we have been to. The first time we were in Omaha it was Jan.4 or so and we stopped to visit friends at the base as we moved from norther NY to Colorado Springs. The second time was for an AF reunion.I can’t believe they didn’t tell us more about the area. We will travel through there again and will definitely visit downtown. I will have to find out more about Lauritzen Gardens.

    As for my favorite park or place to hang out, there is no one place. We like to travel and have found many places we loved and would like to return. Favorite areas are New England and the West. They are so very different and offer their own special beauty and experiences. We hope to get back out West soon to see more of the National and State Parks we haven’t yet visited and revisit some of our favorites.

  29. One of my favorite places to go walk is Erna Nixon Park. It’s all natural habitat, with a wooden walkway built through, and has different signs you can read as you walk that tells you about the native plant life.

  30. My favorite park is our closest state park, Lake Bronson State Park, in Minnesota. It really is a hidden gem with private camping spots, a great group camp building and a pretty man-made lake. I love to drive through any time and I love to bring the kids during the summer.

  31. oh my but this sounds fantastic. cant wait to read it.. Oh the whole series. hummm around here I love to go to the Botanical Gardens, so beautiful and peaceful. Set up so everyone has a little quiet and lovely plants. Also I love to go to the Brookfield Zoo. I love animals and I always find peace and fun here. quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  32. That’s a beautiful park. I love all the sculptures and the stories they tell. I don’t have any parks near me, but I’ve visited a few beautiful ones, whose names I can’t remember, while on vacation.

  33. Hello Mary I Loved reading this and learning about this beautiful place I haven’t been to many parks like this but would love to someday! Love the cover of your book it sounds like an amazing story! I have been to The Smoky Mountains and I Loved it!

  34. Our local park, Canobie Lake Park is 125+ years old and used to host visitors from Boston who took the train to the park.

  35. I like to hang out at Balboa Park in San Diego, CA. It has much to offer. I especially like being at the San Diego Zoo. A couple of years ago my granddaughter and I took a watercolor class there and painted lots of zoo animals. What fun it was.

  36. There are so many beautiful local, state, and national parks. Many years ago we visited Ft. Laramie with its living history and loved it. Ft Robinson in Nebraska was also a great experience. The Adirondack State Park has many trails but for our family fall brought hunting season and we girls were allowed to hike in with our dad and uncles to help set up camp that they would use for the deer hunting season. Sometimes the teamster with his horses and wagon would be going in the same day we did to bring the heavier items that didn’t fit in the backpacks. Since it is a no motorized vehicles area it was a trip back in time and a chance for all of us cousins to let our imaginations wander back to what it was like in the 1800’s. The Adirondack Park also has areas like Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and the museum at Blue Mountain Lake. A mixture of privately owned and state owned land the park is bigger than Yellowstone National Park and has a myriad of activities available including hunting and fishing.

    Here in Central Washington there are a number of parks with geologically significant features like Dry Falls and Steamboat Rock in the Grand Coulee. Palouse Falls is an amazing site in the spring where the Palouse River falls down to meet the Snake River. This is very close to the Mullan trail that Mary blogged about once.

    I have been to Omaha but missed what sounds like an amazing park.

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